The DR1 and DR6 First Exons of Human Herpesvirus 6A Are Not Required for Virus Replication in Culture and Are Deleted in Virus Stocks That Replicate Well in T-Cell Lines Article


  • ABSTRACT Human herpesvirus 6A (HHV-6A) and HHV-6B are lymphotropic viruses which replicate in cultured activated cord blood mononuclear cells (CBMCs) and in T-cell lines. Viral genomes are composed of 143-kb unique (U) sequences flanked by ∼8- to 10-kb left and right direct repeats, DRL and DRR. We have recently cloned HHV-6A (U1102) into bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) vectors, employing DNA replicative intermediates. Surprisingly, HHV-6A BACs and their parental DNAs were found to contain short ∼2.7-kb DRs. To test whether DR shortening occurred during passaging in CBMCs or in the SupT1 T-cell line, we compared packaged DNAs from various passages. Restriction enzymes, PCR, and sequencing analyses have shown the following. (i) Early (1992) viral preparations from CBMCs contained ∼8-kb DRs. (ii) Viruses currently propagated in SupT1 cells contained ∼2.7-kb DRs. (iii) The deletion spans positions 60 to 5545 in DRL, including genes encoded by DR1 through the first exon of DR6. The pac-2-pac-1 packaging signals, the DR7 open reading frame (ORF), and the DR6 second exon were not deleted. (iv) The DRR sequence was similarly shortened by 5.4 kb. (v) The DR1 through DR6 first exon sequences were deleted from the entire HHV-6A BACs, revealing that they were not translocated into other genome locations. (vi) When virus initially cultured in CBMCs was passaged in SupT1 cells no DR shortening occurred. (vii) Viral stocks possessing short DRs replicated efficiently, revealing the plasticity of herpesvirus genomes. We conclude that the DR deletion occurred once, producing virus with advantageous growth “conquering” the population. The DR1 gene and the first DR6 exon are not required for propagation in culture.


publication date

  • 2010

published in

number of pages

  • 8

start page

  • 2648

end page

  • 2656


  • 84


  • 6